It fascinates me to see what makes an eight year old tick, or fall apart. One of my students yesterday did not have his glasses because "his doctor told him to not wear them for 5 months" (we later found out that this was not true, he wasn't supposed to wear them for a few hours)! He cried all morning long because he couldn't see. I think what broke my heart the most was that he just wanted to be able to keep up and without his glasses he couldn't see what he was on his paper or what was on the board. This student was distraught, he didn't raise his hands, was not working with his group, and eventually completely gave up on the day. I was able to sit with him at our back table and read the worksheet to him, which amazingly changed his whole mood. It was like a switch was flipped!
It so amazing how something that seems simple, not wearing your glasses for a few hours because your eyes are dilated, could completely ruin a student's day. I think seeing this made me realize that I don't know what happened to my students the night before, or that morning as they were getting ready for school, or what happened to them on the bus ride to school that morning, but it's the attention to the small details that are going to help me become the best teacher I can be. By understanding that sometimes even eight year olds have an off day, I can hopefully learn to be more patient on a daily basis.
I basically want to be this woman!!!! I just found this video and basically.... I want to be exactly like this woman! Her classroom management is incredible! From what I've been able to read this is an example of whole brain teaching. I plan on looking more into whole brain teaching to see what it is all about. I will be really interested to see what this method might have to offer to a third grade classroom!
Okay so I wanted to let you know I have not forgotten about you! I have been very busy with the end of the semester craziness, leaving me with no time to update ya'll about my little kiddos! Do not fear though! I have been keeping track of things I want to tell you wonderful people. Once this student part of my student teaching calms down I will be updating you on the goings on of my crazy classroom!
For now I will leave you with this scene. All 28 of my students are lined up in the hallway waiting to head back into the classroom after our bathroom break. We are still waiting on a few more students when we all hear... "I believe I can fly... I believe I can touch the sky..." One of the boys was singing to himself as he was washing his hands. Just preforming for himself I guess, or maybe it was a kind of pep talk. Who knows!
"Hey, cause I believe in me, oh
If I can see it, then I can be it
If I just believe it, there's nothing to it
Hey, if I just spread my wings
I can fly"
In the words of Walt Disney, "If you can dream it, you can do it!"
There is a student in my class who my mentor teacher and I think was a select mute. Now if you are not sure what a select mute is, as I was not before meeting this student, here is an always trusted article from none other than wiki! Wikipedia
This student, David, would not communicate (verbal and non-verbal communication) with any person in our classroom; not his peers, not my mentor teacher, and especially not me. For a while my mentor teacher and I were really concerned as to how to deal with a challenging situation like this, but ultimately decided that we would continue to try to engage David in activities, and let him decide if he would like to communicate or not.
I am here to tell you that David spoke today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not once, not twice, not even three times, but multiple times.... AND HE RAISED HIS HAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm convinced this is just shy of a miracle!!!! The actual reason I think he decided to speak was because my mentor teacher built an awesome, non verbal, non threatening, relationship with David by playing tic tac toe with him during dismissal every day. It's incredible to see a student respond to someone's simple gesture of playing a game with them with such a huge sign of respect as breaking your silent streak. I think this also speaks volumes to my mentor teacher's ability to reach the "unreachable"students. Kudos Jen! I have to admit I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard David's little voice offer an answer to the math problem on the board. Already seeing the importance of this job... changing lives!!!!
I asked the students at the end of my lesson to write what they learned about making decisions, here is what a few of my wise students had to offer...
"The thing I leaned about decisions is it is sometimes hard to make. I learned that decisions are opinioins. I learned sometimes you have to fight to make a decision. I learned it can be hard, fusstrating and furios. I learned you cant get what you want."
"When somewon agrees with something but you don't so you go with the other one."
"You can make a decision by using your brain."
"Some people might have different opinons and uich ever one you think is the best you chose."
"That you can be fair and do rock paper siscter shoot."
"I know that making decisions is a hard thing to do because like this you want to give a toy to your brother but you really want it."
"Pick the better thing or better choice that you want."